Neil has logged off, but I just spoke with him. They are not going to be making any new turnos (appointments) until "sometime around" mid October. Who knows, if the new "system" is in effect then, they may be able to process the applications the same day (without a turno), as they did (briefly) a few years ago.
Yes. Actually it is required by law that you apply for a DNI either 30 or 40 days after being granted the visa rentista. Obiously, that is not possible at this time. Just apply for it at the registro as soon as they start up again.
1) the backlog on turnos for DNI is incredible. When I called a couple of months ago they were giving out Turnos for Aug 2010. There is a way to do this "expedited" but I don't know the details. If already have your residency (temporary or otherwise) and you are interested I can put you in touch with a lawyer who can get your DNI in 30-40 days (for a fee of course).
2) I guess I already implied it above, and its already been answered, but yes you can get a temporary DNI with your temporary residency. Works for most things but not all.
Does your contact have turnos at migraciones (for the residency) or the registro (for the DNI)?
In most cases (when upgrading from temporary), permanent resiency takes three years whether or not you use a contact. Both permanent and temporary residency are granted at migraciones. They do not issue DNI's.
Migraciones is presently granting turnos whether you have a "contact" or not. The regisgro should be accepting turnos for the DNI again in mid to late October. The cost that is still posted on their site is 15 pesos. Getting a DNI is simple compared to getting residency (either temporary or permanent).
For the DNI, all you need is your birth certificate (with Apostille/translated and legalized in Argentina), a certificado de domicilio, and two photos (available inside the registro), and the paper from migraciones stating that you have been granted the temporary resident status.
The latest info I had (in the past week) was that advance apointments were not needed at the registro for the DNI renewal, but there is a limit of 200 per day and you may need to get there and wait in line as early as 4AM.